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Transforming waste: Cigarette butts converted into renewable fuel

Scientists have revealed an ingenious way to reuse cigarette waste to produce biodiesel, in a step towards sustainable fuel production. The step could significantly reduce production costs and environmental impact.

Amid growing environmental concerns and the search for cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels, biodiesel has emerged as a promising solution which is derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, offers biodegradability, decomposing up to four times faster than petroleum diesel non-toxic alternative.

However, the high cost of biodiesel production and potential pollution from biomass sources have hampered its widespread use.

To address these challenges, researchers at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) have found a new solution by incorporating a byproduct of cigarette waste recycling into the production process.

“TRIACETIN, a key compound used in biodiesel production, is abundant in cigarette filters,” explains Sami Youssef, a senior researcher at KTU’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Design.

Scientists succeeded in extracting valuable components from cigarette waste through a series of experiments using pyrolysis, that is, the process of thermal decomposition. This process, conducted at varying temperatures, produced oil and gas from waste, with a remarkably rich TRIACETIN content, which can be incorporated as an additive in biodiesel production, potentially reducing production costs and enhancing efficiency.

This innovative approach addresses the environmental impact of cigarette waste and harnesses its components for practical applications.

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